The best pizza I ever had was over a decade ago when I went to Rome, Italy. There was a small alley that we walked through countless times and never noticed this hole-in-the-wall pizzeria… until one day.
Before we left for Italy, someone recommended a book about restaurants worth visiting in Italy. We brought the book with us. And while in Rome, we opened that book and picked one of the restaurants. It was this pizzeria.
One night we wandered over. If we hadn’t known the address, we would have walked right by it. Well, we actually did every day, and even that night. Finally we figured out where it was and walked in the front door. The restaurant had simple and unadorned tables and chairs. There was almost no décor on the walls, and a couple of older Italian men sitting in the corner.
After going through the menu, I decided on a pizza they called a Margherita. Now this pizza was made with insanely fresh ingredients: fresh ripe crushed tomatoes with their special blend of herbs on a fresh delicious pizza dough. After it was taken out of the oven, it was covered in large fresh basil leaves. But no cheese. Can I just say that it was the best pizza I ever had. I literally inhaled the whole pizza it was that amazing.
Now in North America, Margherita pizzas have cheese, so for my Margheritan I channeled that hole-in-wall pizzeria in Rome and created my next installment in my pizza adventures.
To start, I had to make new pizza dough. This time I made a different style of dough which combined bread flour and semolina flour. I then left it to rise in the fridge for between 12-24 hours.
After the twenty four hours had passed, I removed the dough and divided it into balls: one for this pizza, and another ball to be set aside in the freezer until the next pizza adventure.
I then made my Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce which included a finely chopped garlic glove, chopped fresh basil leaves, ripe tomatoes chopped in small chunks, tomato paste, sea salt, sugar, and freshly ground black pepper. I let it sit for an hour in the fridge to accentuate the flavours.
When it was time to make the pizza, I stretched out the dough to my desired size, and then brushed on my Herbed Grill Oil. I then sprinkled on a bit of Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella and Fontina cheeses. I dropped spoonfuls of the Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce onto the pizza. I then placed sliced and torn pieces of fresh mozzarella across the pizza filling in the holes between the sauce.
In the oven the pizza went until everything was cooked to perfection… I then garnished it with fresh basil leaves. Hmmm… Yummy! 🙂